The Oakland A’s are not competing in the American League West this season. However, starting pitcher Rich Hill has been amazing in the first half.
Over the years, the Oakland A’s have done a great job developing or signing starting pitchers. The only downside is that once those pitchers get good, they tend to leave Oakland for good. This looks like it could be another case. Rich Hill has been around for a while, starting his career in 2005, is having a great season and the best of his career.
Fantasy owners were not touching Hill with a 10-foot pole at their drafts, which is evident by his 260.0 ADP. Now, at the “midway” point of the season, he is owned in 83.6 percent of ESPN leagues. With the big difference in his ADP, ownership percentage and stats, he is my first-half most valuable pitcher.
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Similar to the requirements of naming Wil Myers my most valuable hitter, I’m not going to name a top-10 pitcher drafted in the first five rounds. There some other valuable pitchers out there, but Hill is one of the most obvious.
In 13 starts, he has a 2.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.7 K/9 with a 9-3 record. The only negative to Rich Hill’s season so far is that he missed all of June with a groin injury.
He seemed fine in his first start back, going 6.2 innings and allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six. In his most recent start, he went six innings and gave up one run on three hits and a walk and tied a season high with 10 strikeouts.
In his next start after the break, Hill will face the Toronto Blue Jays. With the way Toronto is hitting in July, third in batting average, this could be a scary outing. However, he’s kept some powerful offenses quiet in the first half.
Rich Hill has bounced between the rotation and bullpen. In this season, as a starter, he is having his best season. At age 36, you couldn’t ask for anything more from Hill. If you don’t think he’ll keep it up, try trading him for a slightly better starting pitcher or an upgrade for an offensive player.
Yet, for when you drafted him, you are better off keeping him and see where he finishes for the season. Rich Hill, keep doing what you’re doing.